The Iowa Department of Public Health reports the first confirmed case of a disease known as Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV). Public Health Veterinarian Ann Garvey says it is delivered by mosquitoes, and the case was confirmed in Clayton County in eastern Iowa.
“We don’t get a lot of reports of this virus because there’s not a commercial test available to detect it. And so we think that infections are probably unrecognized and under-reported,” Garvey says.
Doctor Garvey says JCV is prevalent in other states around Iowa. “This virus is in the same family as the Lacrosse virus, which may be more familiar to people, and it causes pretty similar illness as the West Nile Virus infection,” according to Garvey. There have been two confirmed cases of West Nile this year and one that is still in the process. Garvey says the victims of West Nile and the JCV are all recovering. She says the cases are a reminder to everyone across Iowa that mosquitoes are still active and pose a disease threat.
“It’s really important that people are still taking measures to protect themselves. Some of the most important things people can do are wearing mosquito repellent — that’s especially important during the peak hours of mosquito activity between dusk and dawn. Other things that people can do is continue to get rid of standing water. That standing water really just creates a place for mosquitoes to breed and increase in numbers,” Harvey explains.
She says people can let their guard down as summer changes to fall. “It’s easy to forget in the fall, I think we kind of get out of the summer mode and we think the risk has gone away and it really hasn’t, “Harvey says. “So, when we are out at those ballgames, or hiking now that the temperatures are cooling off — it’s important to still take those measures to protect ourself.”
Harvey says the days can stay warm and mosquitoes can remain active well into October. It takes the first frost to remove the threat. “That really is when we stop seeing mosquito activity. And usually it has to be a hard frost,” Harvey says. Harvey says West Nile is far more prevalent than JCV in Iowa, and both are easily prevented if you take the precautions to avoid mosquito bites.